COVID-19 hinders graduating seniors’ job prospects

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As COVID-19 spread and deprived seniors of the last few months of their college experience, the Class of 2020 adjusted quickly. With senior weeks canceled and graduation ceremonies turned virtual, all of these unexpected changes seem to be overwhelming enough. However, graduating seniors have a more daunting task ahead: securing a job.

As a recent graduate, I have felt the effect as I searched for summer employment before beginning a fellowship in the fall. I received several emails stating, “We’d like to inform you that we’ve put a temporary pause on recruiting for this role…” or saying that the intern position has been eliminated altogether.

My friends and fellow graduates from John Carroll University voiced similar concerns about graduating amid the pandemic.

Julianne Spataro, a senior studying Integrated Marketing Communication, explained that her job hunt has been a four month process, but the pandemic has only made finding available positions more challenging.

“I think trying to find a new job is an inherently difficult process, between the hours spent filling out applications, taking phone calls, and attending interviews,” Spataro said. “The global pandemic has only made this process harder. I have noticed within the last month there are less postings on job sites like Indeed and LinkedIn. There are only a handful of positions that I could apply for on each of those sites.”

Spataro began her job search in January, whereas other seniors began later in the semester. Kathleen Mackey, a senior studying Digital Media Communication and English, said she began applying as COVID-19 began spreading.

“I applied to several jobs right before the situation with COVID-19 really began to impact our country… Since finishing my last semester and completing my internship program, I’m shifting all of my focus back to the job search. So far, I’m still finding that there are some positions available that fit into the areas that I’m interested in,” Mackey said.

However, even if positions are available, these graduates worry about how they will get trained properly if they cannot learn in-person. Betsy Love, a senior double majoring in Marketing and Supply Chain Management, explained, “No one is really going to hire someone completely new in a pandemic where they can’t go into the office to train.”

Spataro had a similar concern, “I know that even if I found a job in the near future, I would be concerned with how on-boarding and training would work considering it would most likely be done remotely.”

Additionally, the young women said they had received emails saying positions have closed due to the pandemic. Spataro explained, “I have had one company specifically email me saying they were putting a hold on their hiring process due to COVID-19 after I had applied to a position with them. I also know of a couple companies who have company-wide hiring freezes put into place due to COVID-19.”

Love stated, “I know some people are having offers revoked [because of Coronavirus.] You go on companies’ websites and there is nothing posted, even major corporations have little open.”

However, the graduates still seem to be optimistic. Mackey concluded, “We’re all trying to navigate this process together and I find comfort knowing that I can turn to these people to talk about what I’m going through and know that they can completely relate. Of course, I wish it wasn’t that way, but I think it’s something that’s helping many of us right now.”

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